The Collegian Editorial Board endorses You

The Collegian

Editor’s note: This is an editorial. Editorials do not reflect the view of all employees of The Collegian, but instead represent a stance taken by The Collegian’s editorial board, which consists of the editor-in-chief, the managing editor, the digital production manager, the news editors, the opinion editor, the sports editor and the arts and culture editors.

The Collegian historically provides an endorsement of one presidential student government campaign. Whether or not that candidate wins is a different story (in the past four years we’ve watched all four endorsed candidates lose), but it is a tradition intended to provide additional context to student voters from the people who watch them the closest.

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Most typically, the editorial board would sit down with each of the campaigns, and then we would take a vote on who to endorse. But, this year, we feel it would be in poor taste to endorse a candidate under a false guise of objectivity and fairness since two former Collegian employees are running for president and vice president.

While we know that we could try to separate ourselves from their campaign, the fact remains that Allec Brust worked with some of us nearly every day for three years. Some of us mentored her and others were led by her. If we did decide to endorse a candidate, we would not be able to endorse her due to a conflict of interest. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, an industry standard, says to avoid conflicts of interest “real or perceived.” Even if we weighed all the candidates equally and objectively, and decided to endorse a different candidate, The Collegian’s editorial board still has a perceived conflict of interest.

Beyond that, it wouldn’t be helpful for readers. If we threw her campaign out of the running for an endorsement, then we would be unable to equally weigh all choices that the students have before them. Ultimately, a newspaper’s endorsement should be a tool for voters, and that tool would not be useful if we are unable to offer an opinion on one of the campaigns.

But, we will offer you this: Vote. Please. Vote based on their qualifications, vote based on your gut, vote based on your friends or vote based on that one time that person smiled at you. Whatever your reason, voting in this student election is the most power you’re going to be afforded in the governance of this university this year. 

If The Collegian is a training ground for journalists, if ASCSU is a training ground for public servants and politicians, then the voting process is a training ground for civic participation – and we are failing. On a campus of 33,413 students, only a little more than 5,000 voted last year, and that was the highest voter turnout in years. The year prior, only 3,500 voted, barely meeting the 10 percent turnout minimum for the vote to be valid. 

If you don’t vote, then organized campus groups will decide who runs our student government next year. Similarly, if you don’t vote for mayor, for congress or for president, organized PACs (political action committees) will decide who runs our country. Groups on this campus want this position to be filled by one of their own. Greek Life, The Conservative Interest Group, Turning Point USA, Students Against White Supremacy, the CSU Intersectional Activism Network, and others are paying attention to this election. And if you don’t, then whoever wins will simply be a reflection of which one of those groups had the most members and whipped up enough votes.

So, this election season, we’re endorsing you. We trust you. Because if you don’t use your voice in your university/city/county/state/country… someone else will take it from you.

The Collegian’s editorial board can be reached at editor@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian